10 TV Theme Songs That Always Get Stuck in Your Head
Before you continue reading, a word of warning: At least one of the following TV theme songs is going to get thoroughly lodged in your brain, like that penny you accidentally lost up your nose when you were 8.
And much like having a penny in your sinuses, having a theme song stuck in your head is bound to become even more aggravating with each passing moment — but not necessarily because it's unpleasant. It's because you'll eventually come to the frightening realization that you might never be able to expel it from your prefrontal cortex, no matter how hard you sneeze or blow your nose.
On the plus side, having one of these melodies stuck in your head is bound to take your mind off the fact that you might still have a penny in your sinuses. In all seriousness, can you actually remember whether you got it out?
#1. 'The Andy Griffith Show'
Along with from Otis Redding's "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay," the theme from "The Andy Griffith Show" is arguably one of the most whistleable tune ever recorded. Also referred to as "The Fishin' Hole," this recognizable ditty was composed by Earle Hagen and Herbert Spencer with lyrics later added by Everett Sloane (yes, there are lyrics).
#2. 'Hawaii Five-0'
In addition to getting us revved up for its specific brand of Hawaiian police work, the theme from "Hawaii Five-O" got us humming along like idiots — and we were far from the only ones. The theme music, composed by Morton Stevens and recorded by surf rockers The Ventures, was a major hit on its own, making it all the way to No. 4 on the Billboard charts. Musicians Don Ho and Sammy Davis Jr. were fans too, having both recorded lyrical versions.
#3. 'The Brady Bunch'
The Bradys didn't have a toilet, but they sure as heck had a memorable, expository theme song. Written by composer Frank De Vol and show creator Sherwood Schwartz, it was first recorded by a group called the Peppermint Trolley Company. The Brady children took over singing duties from season two onward.
The sentimental "Cheers" theme that we all know and love (and unconsciously hum at bars) was composed by Gary Portnoy and Judy Hart Angelo in 1982. The original version they pitched, however, was much more of a downer, with lyrics that detailed all the sorrows one might drown at Cheers. Glen and Les Charles requested a revision, and the song eventually became as memorable as the show itself.
The wordless theme from "Bonanza" actually had a few different sets of "official" lyrics — one of which was performed by the characters at the end of the first episode. (A few years after the show's debut, Johnny Cash would also release his own version with re-written lyrics.) Regardless, we'd be willing to bet that most viewers simply yelled, "Dun dunna-dun dunna-dun dunna-dun, Bo-Nan-ZAHHH!" while the opening credits crawled across the screen.
#6. 'The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'
You'd be hard-pressed to find a '90s-era kid who couldn't recite the entire "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" theme song from memory. Well, maybe not the entire thing — Will Smith and Quincy Jones' full song, which only rarely aired at the top of the show, contained several additional verses when compared to the more common minute-long opening. Take a listen:
#7. 'Gilligan's Island'
"America doesn't want great music themes — just something it can remember," composer George Wyle once said of his "Gilligan's Island" theme song, which he co-wrote with series creator Sherwood Schwartz. He was probably right too, because "The Ballad of Gilligan's Isle" was twice remembered at the TV Land Awards for having the Best Sitcom Earworm nearly 40 years after the show debuted.
#8. 'The Jeffersons'
In 1975, George Jefferson left his "All in the Family" neighbors behind for a dee-luxe apartment and a much catchier theme song. Written by Jeff Barry and Ja'net Dubois (and performed by Dubois, herself a regular on "Good Times"), "Movin' on Up" makes you want to get up and dance every time you hear it, so long as you're familiar with the most appropriate dance to perform while it's playing.
#9. 'The Flintstones'
Even Hoyt Curtain, the man who composed the theme for "The Flintstones," said in 1994 that he can't get the song out of his head. Though not the show's original opening theme (that title belongs to an instrumental tune called "Rise and Shine," also by Curtain), the familiar refrains of "Meet the Flintstones" are now synonymous with Fred's prehistoric hijinks. Some sources also claim the song was inspired by Beethoven's Piano Sonata #17, Movement 2.
#10. 'The Addams Family'
In 1964, ABC hired composer Vic Mizzy to write the theme song for a comedy called "The Addams Family," and Mizzy returned with literally the snappiest tune in TV history. Later in life, Mizzy continued to trace his success back to the song, once saying, "Two snaps got me a mansion in Bel Air." (Although, in fairness, he probably didn't live solely off of his "Addams Family" fortune — Mizzy wrote the infectious theme to "Green Acres," too).